Lyubov Sobol, an ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, detained for 48 hours, lawyer says

Lyubov Sobol, an ally of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, was detained for 48 hours after questioning, according to her lawyer.

Russia launched a criminal case against Ms Sobol over accusations she had violently entered a flat that her supporters said was linked to a secret agent involved in a plot to kill Mr Navalny.

The move against Ms Sobol is the latest in a clampdown on the Kremlin’s opponents before next year’s parliamentary election.

Ms Sobol aims to run for office, although outspoken critics of the Kremlin are often prevented from standing.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, which handles serious crimes, said on its website it had launched a criminal case against Ms Sobol.

It did not mention any detention.

Her supporters said she rang the doorbell of an apartment owned by the family of a man who Mr Navalny has said was an FSB security service officer involved in a bungled attempt to poison him using a nerve agent.

The FSB has dismissed Mr Navalny’s account of the poisoning.

In its account, the Investigative Committee said Ms Sobol and several others tried to gain entry to an old woman’s flat in Moscow, wearing uniforms used by the state consumer health watchdog.

Lyubov Sobol and Alexei Navalny standing next to each other at a rally looking at the camera
Lyubov Sobol (left) is an ally of Alexei Navalny, who spoke out against her detainment on Twitter.(Reuters: Shamil Zhumatov, file)

It accused her of tricking a delivery courier to enter the apartment block before barging into the woman’s flat when she opened the door.

It said Ms Sobol was suspected of using violence to enter illegally, an offence that can carry a jail term of up to two years.

Mr Navalny wrote on Twitter: “They are locking up the mother of a small child for two days to tell everybody: don’t dig into this case. Don’t dare to mess with our killers and poisoners and knock on their doors. These killers are untouchable.”

Germany and other Western nations say Mr Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in a murder attempt.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusations.


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Lyubov Sobol: Russian police investigate Navalny ally ‘who visited spy accused of poisoning’ | World News

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says police raided his ally’s apartment after she allegedly visited the home of a spy accused of poisoning him.

Lyubov Sobol, 33, live streamed footage of men knocking at the door of her Moscow home early on Christmas Day.

CCTV thought to be from the hallway outside her flat also shows men covering up the camera with tape.

Lyubov Sobol hopes to run for election to the Russian parliament

Mr Nalvany, one of Vladimir Putin‘s most outspoken critics, says she was detained after visiting a man he claims poisoned him earlier this year.

This week Ms Sobol is said to have visited the Moscow flat where Konstantin Kudryavtsev lives to try to speak to him.

Ms Sobol allegedly went there after claims by Mr Navalny that he got the FSB agent to admit he poisoned him with novichok by posing as a security official over the phone.

Navalny is pictured with Sobol (L) and his wife Yulia on a march in Moscow earlier this year
Navalny is pictured with Sobol (L) and his wife Yulia on a march in Moscow earlier this year

He says that during the 45-minute call, Mr Kudryavtsev revealed he was instructed to apply the nerve agent to his underwear.

Mr Navalny’s anti-corruption fund said on Twitter on Friday: “Today, police came to Lyubov Sobol’s apartment at 7am.”

Her phone and computers were confiscated, they said.

Mr Navalny claims her phone was immediately switched off and his team were unable to contact her.

Ms Sobol’s husband and daughter were allowed to leave the flat after it was raided, they added.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny fell ill while on a plane in Russia
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned in August

A lawyer for the anti-corruption fund said police had detained her on suspicion of “violating the sanctity of someone’s home with the use or threat of violence”, which carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Russia’s investigative committee, which handles serious crime probes, confirmed on its website that it was launching a criminal case.

It claimed Ms Sobol and others had tricked a courier to get into a block of flats, before trying to gain entry to a woman’s apartment by wearing uniforms used by the state health watchdog.

The investigators said she barged into the flat when the elderly woman opened the door.

Mr Navalny fell ill on a flight to Moscow in August, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

He was transferred to a hospital in Germany where doctors said he had been poisoned with the same Cold War nerve agent used on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement.

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